11Feb 2020

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Is Your Fitness App Creating the Next Privacy Nightmare?

fitness app

Every company with a fitness-focused product line is coming up with new apps to help track exercise and sleep information about users. Some are even releasing new devices that have dedicated fitness features in them like tracking your running distance, heart rate, location, sleep patterns and so much more. All these devices are connected with a companion fitness app on your phone where all your data is accumulated and uploaded to the company’s database.

A New League of Data Breach!

How this data is used is becoming a big concern, especially with the recent breach in the servers of my fitness pal app. The hack resulted in the leak of login IDs, passkeys, and email IDs of 150 MILLION users on my fitness pal app! Access to location data of users meant they had access to the whereabouts of actual people. The level of security and privacy problems that could create is unimaginable!

The Apps are the Issue

A lot of advertising agencies give huge incentives to fitness app companies to gain access to user data. The companies mostly comply, primarily because of their privacy policies which no one pays attention to.

  • The default privacy setting on your fitness app allows it to use and share your data unless you change the settings yourself.
  • Vague policies are a norm for most health apps as they provide insufficient information to users about how they intend to use the data.
  • Often, companies either do not include sufficient information in their privacy policy or try to mislead users by adding additional documents for hiding details or using legal jargon. In the worst cases, some apps simply do not have any privacy policy at all!

What You Should Do?

Keeping your data safe is your biggest responsibility. Exposing it to unfriendly elements can lead to some really scary problems. So, it is best to keep it safe. Here are a few things you can do to save yourself from such breaches:

  • Always read the privacy policy of your app. The best fitness app would always provide you with a clear and detailed privacy policy that does not confuse you.
  • Make sure you have access to your privacy settings. Another feature that the best fitness app must have is the ability for you to decide what you want to share. Make sure you are not sharing any personal data like your email, phone, location, etc.
  • Do not provide too much data to the application. Try to use the application without GPS if possible. This will make sure your location information is not shared on their database. It may lead to slight miscalculations but that is a sacrifice you should be willing to make.
  • Use a VPN. All your data is going to the fitness app servers via your internet so masking your IP address and data can help you stay hidden to some extent. A good app like VPN Shazam’s Turbo Dynamic VPN can do a fine job for such use.

Follow the instructions shared here and always keep your guard up. You never know where your private data may be getting leaked.

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